01st Nov2012

Topsail cross country advances to state finals

by Contributor

HAMPSTEAD - The Topsail Pirates Cross Country team has advanced  to the NCHSAA state finals after placing second in the Men’s race and third in the Women’s race at the NCHSAA 2A East Regional Championship held Saturday at Boyd Lee Park in Winterville.

The Topsail men’s team finished second overall with a score of 75 followed by Beddington (101) and Swansboro (102). Richlands finished first with a score of 63. Topsail senior Brady Woods finished ninth overall (out of 99 runners) with a time of 17:47. Woods set a school record two weeks ago by running a 17:04 in the conference championship race.

The women’s team finished third with a score of 91. Swansboro finished first (31) followed by Croatan (56) and fourth-place Clinton (118). Topsail freshman Rachel Medlin finished eleventh overall (out of 78) with a time of 21:41.

“We had some very strong senior leaders this year,” assistant Coach Lisa Theriault added.  “Seniors Brady Woods, Rachel Quindlen and Haley Williams have worked hard to shave their times while also helping to develop some of the younger runners on our team.  They’ve set us up with a strong foundation for next year.”

“It was a good day for Topsail High School and a great day for Topsail Cross Country” coach Wayne Rogers said. “The freshmen runners were outstanding,”

State finals will be held this Saturday, November 3rd in Kernersville at Beeson Park.

01st Nov2012

Lady Pirates’ excellent year concludes at South Central

by Lee Wagner

CREEDMOOR – It has often been said that sports mirrors life in so many ways. You get the minor ups and downs, the kinds of things that make you happy one day and sad the next. You get that extra feeling of elation when you win the biggest of big games and the sadness and – yes, tears – that comes from those heart-breaking losses.

Saturday evening the girls on the Topsail High School volleyball team had one of those huge moments when they staged an amazing come-from-behind win over East Duplin in the NCHSAA 2A state volleyball playoffs, but Tuesday evening the ball bounced the other way and an amazing season put together by a group of amazing young ladies came to a sudden end.

What will be remembered for a considerable period of time is that final game, that final loss. What hopefully will be remembered for a long, long time in the hearts and minds of these Lady Pirates and their fans is a season that exceeded the expectations of many and, for five very special group of departing seniors, a career that was filled with – as the folks at ABC’s Wide World of Sports used to proclaim, “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”

Senior Carlie Smith had 17 kills, nine service points, four blocks, and 11 digs, and teammate and classmate Angie Poage ended her illustrious four-year varsity career with 16 points, 21 assists, a kill, and 14 digs but it was not enough to stave off a power-hitting group of Lady Vikings as South Granville defeated Topsail 3-0 (12-25, 15-25, 16-25) on Thursday in the Eastern Regional final of the NCHSAA 2A state volleyball playoffs in Creedmoor.

South Granville (23-5) now moves on to face North Surry (32-2) on Saturday in the 2A state championship game at North Carolina State’s Reynolds Coliseum.

The Lady Pirates see a season come to an end in which they won their third-straight East Central 2A Conference title, complete a third-consecutive unbeaten conference season, won 44-straight conference games (Maybe it should he 48 since they beat conference foes Clinton, South Lenoir, Croatan, and East Duplin in the playoff run) over three-plus years, and advance to the East Regional final of the state playoffs.

Even in defeat it must be remembered that these girls were one of only four teams out of approximately 92 schools in the 2A classification playing on Tuesday – and that is a  major accomplishment.

“They had too many hitters and we were limited to getting production from our two middles (Smith and sophomore Kayla Hyatt), and that’s the most serves we missed in any playoff game,” Topsail Coach Hill Pearsall said. “They’re (South Granville) good. They have two girls that can put the ball down, and they simply had more power than we did.”

That showed early in the first game when they used an 11-1 run to break open a 4-4 tie game behind four kills, a block, and an ace. Lady Vikings’ senior Mary Catherine Preddy, who is headed to North Carolina State on a full volleyball scholarship, led the way in the opener with six kills, two blocks, and three aces.

The Lady Pirates really never recovered from that onslaught, and they were never able to get any sustained runs going. For the most part, the rest of the game, the two teams exchanged points but the damage was already done.

There were no ties in the second game as the Lady Vikings jumped out to a quick lead and never really looked back. It was 7-2 after the first two service exchanges and, again, it was an exchange of points pretty much the rest of the way.

The Lady Pirates did finally get their first three-point surge but the score was already titled to the South Granville side of the scoreboard at 21-14 after the run.

One thing about the Lady Pirates they do not go down without a fight, and they fought hard in the third game. Along with Smith and Poage, Hyatt, Reagan Holloway, Lacey Akerley, Sarah Woodward, and Chandler Skipper kept battling.

The game was tied at 2-2, 4-4, 5-5, and 6-6 before a four-point surge gave the Lady Vikings some breathing room at 9-6. But while the Lady Pirates continued to struggle in putting runs together, the Lady Vikings would get two or three to Topsail’s one until the advantage increased to 18-12 in South Granville’s favor.

The Lady Pirates gave their fans a flash of hope with a three-point spurt but South Granville answered with a four-pointer, and they closed out the game, the match, and Topsail’s season from there.

“We came out a little scared I think and our defense was off,” said Poage through tears. “We weren’t setting up the blocks right and they had some really good hitters. It just wasn’t our night.”

Topsail will lose Smith, Poage, Akerley, Darnell, and Kaleigh Bordeaux to graduation, and they certainly will all be missed. Pearsall declared Poage and Smith, “The best setter/hitter combination I have ever coached,” and each of those other seniors took their turns contributing big points and stellar leadership to a successful year.

Smith is being recruited by several schools, among them Catawba, Campbell, and UNC-Wilmington, and Darnell and Bordeaux are headed to some college on softball scholarships. Poage will more than likely wind up playing somewhere but on this night she was concerned her volleyball days might be behind her.

“This has been better that I ever expected, especially this year, and we have become so much of a family it’s sad to think it’s time to go our separate ways. I hope to continue playing in college but there is nothing positive yet, and it’s hard to think it might be all over.”

Topsail moves to the Mid-Eastern 3A/4A Conference next year, and the cupboard is not bare. Skipper, Woodward, Holloway, setter Jenna Register, and defensive specialist Sammi Proulx are all juniors – as is hitter Ali Broadbridge – and Hyatt is as sophomore, and Annie Jonson will joint them from the junior-varsity squad.

“We talked before the game that, win or lose, it’s been a season to be proud of,” Pearsall said. “Now we’ll take a little time off and take the summer to see what the returning girls do, and go from there.”

Topsail            12-15-16

S. Granville    25-25-25

Topsail: Carlie Smith 9 points, 17 kills, 4 blocks, 11 digs; Angie Poage 16 points, 25 assists, 1 kill, 14 digs; Kayla Hyatt 9 points, 11 kills, 2 blocks, 11 digs; Reagan Holloway 2 kills, 7 digs; Chandler Skipper 15 digs; Sammi Proulx 5 digs; Summer Darnell 3 kills, 1 block 1 dig; Sarah Woodward 3 points, 5 assists, 1 kill, 1 block, 5 digs; Lacey Akerley 2 points, 1 kill, 3 digs.

S. Granville: Mary Catherine Preddy 17 kills, 3 blocks, 3 aces; Logan Bradshaw 7 kills, 1 ace; Jenna Davis 5 kills, 1 block; T’Keyah Davis 4 kills, 3 aces; Casey Ellington 4 kills, 1 ace, 1 block; Summer Williamson 3 kills, 1 ace; Cayce B ell 1 ace.

30th Oct2012

Nobody Asked me but – Many coaches, fans
unhappy with football playoff matchups

by Lee Wagner

Nobody asked me, but……….In conversation with some coaches and fans of some of the football teams involved in the upcoming NCHSAA football playoffs there are mixed feelings of elation that their respective teams are in the playoffs, yet a plethora of serious discontent as to the first-round matchups and the potential second-round games.

Let’s take a minute, first, and defend the NCHSAA. It’s not easy to establish matchups that are fair to everyone, or that will make everyone happy. I served as the media seeding representative for several years in South Jersey for the Region 7 wrestling championships and the state championships, and I can tell you we worked our butts off trying to be fair – and we still had complaints.

One thing we tried to do was keep wrestlers who had already faced each other – some several times – away from each other in the early rounds, especially if their earlier bouts were close and competitive and if they were obviously the best wrestlers in a specific weight class.

I am sure doing that type of seeding for whatever number of high-school football teams that have qualified for the playoffs can be overwhelming.

But there are some curious first-round, and potential second-round matchups that raise questions. Perhaps the one that seems to merit mention first in the 1A category.

Dixon has had one of its best seasons in many, many years. They traveled to Lejeune last Friday to face the Devil Pups for second place in the Coastal Plains 1A Conference – looking for a potential first-round home game, which would have been the first in school history. Dixon beat Lejeune 33-12, thus securing the conference’s runner-up position.

Now, for reasons I do not like, the NCHSAA has decided to break down the classifications into 1A and 1AA, 2A and 2AA, and so on. There is only one legitimate reason for this, and I do not care what anyone else says, and that’s’ money – revenue. The more games, the more money goes into the association’s coiffures.

That’s partially understandable because in this specific day-and-age everyone wants to make money, and the NCHSA has payroll and other bills to pay like everyone else.

But the honest truth is there are teams in the playoffs that really shouldn’t be there. In New Jersey and several other states – money aside – you have to have at least a .500 record on a specific cutoff date to even qualify for the playoffs.

So why don’t we eliminate the teams with losing records, combine either the East and the Mideast brackets, at the very least, and maybe eliminate the single and double letter classifications.

Let’s go back to 7-3 Dixon. Because they are classified 1AA they have to go on the road and face a perennial playoff contender in Goldsboro (9-1),. Meanwhile Lejeune 5-5) –because they are in 1A – gets a home playoff game against 3-7 Rosewood. Where, pray tell, is the reward for finishing second?

If you eliminate East and Mideast – and I don’t want to hear the travel excuse, we’ll address that in 2AA – then you have Dixon (7-3) playing WRH (7-3) in the first round with the winner facing the winner of the game between Pender (5-5) and Goldsboro. Goldsboro gets a home game, and maybe here, Dixon gets one.

Okay, but what about travel expenses, and I say look at 2AA. Topsail (7-3) has to travel to North Pitt (7-3) while North Brunswick (6-4) has to travel to Bunn (8-2). Where’s the travel savings there? And how about sending North Brunswick to Topsail for a bigger gate and a small mileage assessment?

The 4A classification is wackier!! Hoggard (8-2) has to go on the road to face Southern Durham (6-4) because – somehow – Southern Durham is a higher (4 vs. 5) seed. Huh?

The Vikings have only lost to 10-0 New Bern and 9-1 New Hanover, who also lost to New Bern. Hoggard’s reward for winning a first-round game would be a trip to New Bern in the second round.

This one is simple to fix – move the Southern Durham vs. Hoggard game down in the bracket, and play it at Hoggard, and move the Clayton vs. Knightdale game to the upper bracket. That way, assuming New Bern, Hoggard, and New Hanover all win, you get a big-gate, small-mileage matchup in the second round between New Hanover and Hoggard.

It seems to me that one serves all the criteria – low mileage costs and huge revenue. So does the potential North Brunswick at Topsail matchup.

That’s what I think, what do you think?

Nobody asked me but………I know the folks in Beulaville probably won’t agree with me but I saw what I think was the finest volleyball match I have seen in my 25+ years of journalism on Saturday.

East Duplin, which had lost twice during the regular season and in the playoffs up to that point, with both losses coming at the hands of Topsail, came to Hampstead to face the Lady Pirates for a third time.

East Duplin, led by an excellent and dynamic coach named Elizabeth Turner, took a two-games-to-none lead over Topsail, and they were celebrating on the court and in the stands like crazy.

But Yogi Berra once said, “It’s not over until it’s over,” and this one wasn’t. The Lady Pirates rallied to win the third game 25-13 and you could feel the momentum begin to swing. Topsail then dominated the Lady Panthers in winning the fourth game 25-9, and the signs of eventual defeat – hands on hips, blank stares on their faces, jabbering between players on the court – began to appear on the East Duplin side of the net.

It seemed as if the Topsail girls sensed that, and they went out and destroyed – the only word that applies – East Duplin 15-2 in the final game, and the celebration shifted sides as the team and the fans – many of them the very supportive Topsail football players – rushed onto the floor to surround and rejoice with the Lady Pirate players.

That wonderful television show ABC’s Wide World of Sports used the theme, “The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat,” and it was never more in evidence that after this contest – the joy on one side and the tears on the other.

I’m not sure the East Duplin faithful would agree with me here but 21-3 and the fourth round in the playoffs is one heck of a year, especially considering your only losses came to one team. I think there is a lot to be proud of here.

That’s what I think, what do you think?

Nobody asked me but…….I picked the right two teams to appear in the World Series in San Francisco and Detroit, and I think that’s pretty cool even if I didn’t win a fortune on my prognostication.

But my thinking was the Tigers’ hitting – combined with the Giants having to see Justin Verlander at least twice – would make Detroit the favorite and I went that way here in my column.

But the old adage, “Good pitching beats good hitting,” once again reared its head and, to my surprise, the Giant players hit the heck out of the baseball – especially Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval.

So, congratulations to the Giants! They deserved to win.

That’s what I think, what do you think?

29th Oct2012

TBA has waiting list until all teams filed

by Ken Clarke

HAMPSTEAD – Despite Hurricane Sandy’s passage of Topsail Island this past weekend, the Topsail Basketball Association (TBA) managed to hold its onsite registration on Saturday at the Hampstead library. The conclusion of online registration Sunday night at midnight means that guaranteed spots in this year’s league is closed, but on Monday TBA President Jill Sullivan said they have opened a waiting list until all teams are filled.

To get on the waiting list please send a request to topsailbasketball@gmail.com. Include your name, child’s name and grade, email address and telephone number.

“Waiting list players are still encouraged to attended evaluations,” she stated in an email on Monday.

The following is a list of dates for evaluation

EVALUATIONS: All players MUST attend a player evaluation. Evaluations will be at Topsail Middle School gymnasium on the following dates and times:

October 30, 6:15 – 7:15 pm:  3rd – 5th grade girls

October 30, 7:15 – 8:30 pm:  3rd & 4th grade boys

November 1, 6:15 – 7:30 pm: 1st & 2nd grade boys and girls

November 1, 7:30 – 9:00 pm:  7th & 8th grade boys

November 2, 6:15 – 7:15 pm: 6th thru 12th grade girls *

November 2, 7:15 – 8:45 pm: 5th & 6th grade boys

November 4, 3:00 – 5:00 pm: Make up evaluations (except high school boys)

November 8, 6:15 – 8:00 pm:  High school boys

* Division is dependent upon the number of registrants.

Topsail Basketball Association is a competitive recreational basketball league for boys and girls in 1st grade through 12th grade. Practice and game play will be in at Topsail Middle School in Hampstead, NC.

TBA is made up of a network of community volunteers to benefit the Hampstead community and its youth. We value the responsibility we are given and sacrifice our time so that every player has an opportunity to improve their basketball skills, become part of a team, learn sportsmanship and increase fitness.

For more information go to the TBA website by clicking the following link: https://sites.google.com/site/topsailbasketballassociation/

29th Oct2012

Despite fourth-round exit Lady Patriots had excellent
year, and the future is bright

by Lee Wagner

BURGAW – Regardless of the high-school sport you participate in, there is always disappointment unless you are standing in a celebratory circle and hoisting a state-championship trophy, and with their loss to Princeton on Saturday in the fourth round of the NCHSAA 1A state playoffs, that is exactly what happened to the Pender High School volleyball team – their season ended two games too early.

Lady Patriots’ Coach Matt Davis lauded the play of the Lady Bulldogs of Princeton, and made no excuses for the loss by his team. Davis was emphatic, however, that on that one day – and throughout the season – the Lady Patriots had no reason to hang their collective head.

Pender finished the season with a 23-6 overall record and a 12-1 record in the Tri-County 1A Conference – their final year in the conference before moving to a split 1A/2A conference next year. That allowed them to share the regular-season title with Lakewood, which finished the year with a 23-3 record – suffering all three of their losses at the hands of the Lady Patriots.

Pender went on to win the conference tournament before winning three matches –all by 3-0 scores – in the first three rounds of the state playoffs before running into a buzz saw named Princeton.

“We obviously were hoping to go a little further than we did but we got farther this year than last year (Pender lost 3-2 to Lakewood in the third round), and we were able to make great strides over the season to get better throughout the year,” Davis said. “One thing this group of seniors, and the rest of the girls, wanted to do was to leave their mark on the program, both on and off the court, and they certainly did that.

“They were able to collect 1,200 pounds of food that went to help families in Pender County that were in need with our First Annual Rally Against Hunger campaign earlier this year, and they were able to raise nearly $1,000 in our Dig Pink breast cancer awareness game, and the events leading up to that game. That money was also kept local, helping two separate families in the Burgaw area with medical expenses.”

The Lady Patriots did not stop there.

“Our girls were so determined to help others this year that over the past several away games they decided that they would pass the hat on the bus to collect money that will be used to buy Christmas presents for those less fortunate,” Davis continued. That, combined with our T-shirt sales, has raised nearly $500 to go to that cause.

“They have sacrificed their time to help the booster club at both the Blueberry Festival and at a local travel softball tournament to raise funds. We could have lost every single game and we would have had a great year. The meaning that these girls have built into the lives of those they have helped cannot be calculated.”

Pender will lose just four seniors – Kayvia Thompson, K. B. Hansley, Brenee’ Jones, and Ruby Gasca – to graduation from this year’s team, so the future looks pretty good.

“We are losing K. B., Kayvia, Ruby, and Brenee,” Davis said. “Every year every team loses players to graduation and those losses are tough to replace. While they are all starters, and they are valuable players who will be difficult to replace on the court, the leadership they have provided will make the task that much more difficult.

“Going into a new conference (with 1A schools Wallace-Rose Hill, Trask, Union, and Midway, and 2A schools East Bladen, Clinton, and West Bladen) we hope to continue our winning ways. I’ve said all year that we had a deeper team than just those that played, and we’ve done our best to get the returning players floor time in various situations, both together and mixed in with the first unit.

“I hate to speculate as to who will play where because for my first two years we’ve yet  to start the year with the same lineup we start the summer with, but we’ve got several girls that are ready to step in and be productive.”

Final Season Statistics: Kayvia Thompson 249 kills, 5 assists, 21 blocks, 120 aces, 131 digs; K. B. Hansley 189 kills, 4 assists, 6 blocks, 59 aces, 117 digs; Brenee’ Jones 57 kills, 4 assists, 71 blocks, 2 aces, 7 digs; Ruby Gasca 4 kills, 58 aces, 69 digs; Jackie Sanabria 17 kills, 649 assists, 15 blocks, 61 aces, 5 digs; Alyssa Carter 147 kills, 15 assists, 22 blocks, 53 aces, 72 digs; Brianna Pittman 199 kills, 188 blocks, 3 digs; Cassidy Miller 31 kills, 2 assists, 6 blocks, 44 aces, 63 digs; Journey Knowles 7 kills, 18 blocks, 2 aces, 4 digs; Meghan Cleary 17 kills, 6 aces; Katy Stewart 2 kills, 78 assists, 4 blocks, 18 aces; J. T. Taylor 2 kills, 2 blocks, 7 aces, 5 digs; Alysa Bryant 1 kill, 5 aces, 1 dig; Amber Pyland 10 kills, 8 aces, 11 digs.

28th Oct2012

Lady Pirates come from two down to beat East Duplin

by Contributor

HAMPSTEAD – There was a young lady sitting on the East Duplin side of the stands at Saturday’s NCHSAA 2A volleyball match between the host Topsail High School Lady Pirates and the Lady Panthers of East Duplin holding a sign that read, “Make today unforgettable.”

It’s a pretty good bet when occurred on the court wasn’t exactly what she had in mind, but the night certainly became an unforgettable one, especially for the Lady Pirates.

I doubt if there have been many volleyball matches played to their completion on ESPN Classic, but the producers of the show might just want to consider this one.

Seniors Carlie Smith and Angie Poage went above-and-beyond anything that might have been expected with 33 kills and 46 assists, respectively, and the Lady Pirates staged the comeback of all comebacks as Topsail defeated East Duplin 3-2 (19-25, 19-25, 25-13,2 5-9, 15-2) Saturday night to advance to the fourth round – the regional-championship round – of the 2A state playoffs.

The Lady Pirates (23-5 will now travel toCreedmoor on Tuesday for a match against South Granville (22-5), the No. 1-seeded team out of the Carolina 12 Conference. The Lady Vikings advanced with a 3-1 win over Cedar Ridge. The winner of that match goes to Raleigh for the state championship game on Saturday against the winner of Tuesday’s western regional match between Polk County (22-5) and North Surry (31-2).

But the results – and the drama – of Saturday’s match between the two East Central 2A Conference foes that met in Hampstead will be hard to duplicate.

“I can’t say it was necessarily the biggest win of my coaching career, but it was definitely the best comeback I’ve ever been associated with in my 16 years of coaching,” Topsail Coach Hill Pearsall said.

Topsail had beaten East Duplin twice by 3-0 scores during the regular season and – at the outset of this match – it appeared as though they felt the Lady Panthers would roll over at the sight of the Topsail uniforms.

But that was as far from what occurred as could be as East Duplin put together late rallies in both the first and second games to pull out 25-19 victories in each. The first game between the two conference foes was tied four times, the final tie coming at 18-18 before the Lady Panthers went on a five-point run that provided separation between the two squads – enough of a spread to allow the Lady Panthers to relax down the stretch. The final two points of the first game were kills by Kendal Lego and Lydia Elmore, and it set off a mini-celebration on the East Duplin side of the floor, and in the stands.

The second game provided some of the same excitement from a competitive standpoint. This one was tied six times, with the final deadlock coming at 12-12. Once again, the Lady Panthers took charge, this time with back-to-back, four-point bursts in opening a 20-14 lead. East Duplin was able to avoid any Topsail runs the rest of the way, and a ball hit out of bounds – one of nine unforced Lady Pirates’ errors in the game to go along with seven in the first game – by Topsail ended the game, and the celebration continued for the Lady Panthers.

But that would be the end of the joy on the visitors’ side, and the beginning of jubilation on the home side.

“We came out with such energy and they did the same in the last three,” said East Duplin Coach Elizabeth Turner as she fought to hold back the tears. “We didn’t play with any motivation in those final games, and you have to have that against a very good team like Topsail.”

In an unusual move, the Lady Pirates went to the locker room after that second game to discuss their plight.

“After the second game everyone, especially the seniors, realized we were down to our last chance and me especially. I wasn’t ready for my high-school volleyball career to come to an end, and we knew it was going to come down to us (seniors), so we put the team on our backs.”

That they did, and Coach Pearsall said that was the strategy.

“In the first two games they played amazing, digging up everything we hit, and all the rolls seemed to go their way, plus we weren’t getting Carlie involved,” Pearsall said. “In the third game we said she had to stay in the middle, and we decided to run everything through her until they stopped her.”

Happily for the Lady Pirates and their faithful, the Lady Panthers never did, even their super senior Libero Lauren Williams, who took a monstrous hit by Smith on her cheek and never wavered, and who later caught another Smith smack down on her lower lip. That one staggered her a bit, but the courageous young lady waved off her coach and stayed in the game. Williams finished the match with 32 digs, and teammate Carson Williams had 40 digs –most of them coming in those first two games.

Smith and Poage definitely took over from there. Smith had five kills in the third game and Poage had nine assists as Topsail broke an 8-8 tie with a three-point surge, added another three-pointer on the next serve, and took all the competitiveness out of the contest with a huge nine-point run to open a 23-11 advantage. Not surprisingly, a Smith kill and a block by the talented senior gave the Lady Pirates new life.

Smith was even more lethal in the fourth game, a contest that the Lady Panthers never really we in. Smith had nine kills, a block, and an assist, and Poage had 15 assists as the Lady Pirates routed their visitors 25-13, the final game-point coming on a kill by – whom else – Smith.

Not to ignore the other Topsail players. Junior Reagan Holloway had 13 kills on the evening – three in the fourth game – and sophomore Kayla Hyatt (13 kills) had three kills. Defensively, junior Chandler Skipper was frustrating the Lady Panthers in finishing the evening with 28 digs. The Lady Pirates won the fourth game by 16 points.

Now even at two games apiece, the Lady Pirates had the momentum, and the Lady Panthers were rapidly getting that, “Deer-in-the-headlights” look, and it got worse for East Duplin.

East Duplin had serve to start the third game (15 points) but did not score as a Smith kill got the service to the Topsail side of the net, and into the hands of Poage. An ace and two kills by Smith later it was 4-0 in Topsail’s favor.

That lead mushroomed to 8-2 after two service exchanges before Smith and Topsail got the serve, and it never went back. Hyatt had two kills and a block, senior Lacey Akerley had one kill, and Smith had one to go along with two East Duplin hitting mistakes and a wild celebration erupted – this time on the Lady Pirates’ bench.

“We came back playing our game, and we played better in those last three games than we had all season,” Smith said. “Throughout the season this team had become a family, and I just wasn’t ready to say goodbye to my family yet.”

E. Duplin        25-25-13-  9-  2

Topsail            19-19-25-25-25

Topsail: Carlie Smith 33 kills, 5 blocks, 5 digs, 1 ace; Reagan Holloway 13 kills, 5 digs, 1 block; Kayla Hyatt 13 kills, 9 blocks, 1 ace, 1 dig; Sarah Woodward 4 kills, 1 assist, 3 digs; Angie Poage 46 assists, 5 aces, 8 digs, 1 kill; Summer Darnell 7 digs, 1 kill; Sammi Proulx 5 digs, 1 assist; Chandler Skipper 28 digs, 1 assist; Lacey Akerley 2 kills, 3 digs.

East Duplin:Kendal Lego 9 kills, 11 digs; Makayla Byrd 17 kills; Taylor McGowan 2 kills, 33 assists, 15 digs; Lauren Williams 32 digs, 1 ace, 1 kill; Carson Williams 40 digs, 1 ace; Lydia Elmore 3 kills, 1 block; Amber Hall 3 kills; Hollie Alston 1 kill.

28th Oct2012

Port City Pirate youth wrestling (K-8)

by Contributor

Port City Sports Performance (PCSP) will sponsor the Port City Pirates Youth Wrestling Club (www.pirateswrestling.com) this upcoming 2012-13 season. The Port City Pirates were established in 2004, and is for new or experienced wrestlers in grades K – 8.  The first practice will be held on Monday, Oct. 29 for Middle School wrestlers (6 – 8) and Tuesday, Oct. 30 for Elementary wrestlers (K – 5).  Practices will be held in the Port City Sports Performance facility (go to www.pcsportsperformance.com for directions).

Registration: Throughout the month of October from 4-8 p.m. at Port City Sports Performance (3205 Kitty Hawk Road, Wilmington)

Practice Schedule:

Elementary Team: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 6:15 – 7:45 pm

Middle School Team: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 6:15 – 8:00 pm

Duration of season: Oct. 29 – March 9

Need more Information:

E-mail Dan Willis at matmandan@aol.com

Call PCSP at (910) 442-9890

27th Oct2012

Pirates score twice in first half, hold on to beat
Swansboro 14-7

by Lee Wagner

SWANSBORO – Someone once said, “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades,” but that was never a really true statement since close also counts in curling.

Usually that phrase is spoken when a sports team loses in a close game, but Friday night in Swansboro close was good enough for the Topsail High School football team – because a close win goes in the victory column just the same as a blowout.

All that Pirates’ Coach Bryan Davis was really interested in was coming back with a “W” – especially in view of the fact there were several starters out with injuries – and to that end he can safely say, “Mission accomplished.”

Sophomore quarterback Austin Schoenleber picked up a lot of the slack for the Pirates’ injured running backs by completing 11-of-19 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown as Topsail escaped with a14-7 win over Swansboro on Friday in the final East Central 2A Conference game of the regular season.

The win for the Pirates (7-3 5-2) – their fifth in a row after starting the season 2-3 – earned them the No. 3 seed out of the conference but the reward is a road game at North Pitt (7-4), which finished second with a 4-2 record behind Tarboro (10-0, 6-0) in the tough Eastern Plains 2A Conference standings.

“Devin (Williams) and Josh (Jessup) didn’t play much at all in the first half because they didn’t practice much all week due to injuries,” Davis said. “Then we went real conservative in the second half after scoring 14 in the first half. We just wanted to get out of there with a “W.”

“We felt we could hold them defensively. We knew they were going to be limited throwing the ball, and when they did our defensive backs did a really good job.”

Better than good since senior linebacker Addison Futrell had an interception, junior cornerback Cole McGinn forced a fumble, and sophomore defensive back Clark Cota recovered two Swansboro fumbles and had a pair of very good pass breakups.

Topsail scored on its opening drive when Schoenleber found senior tight end Mason Kimmel for a 40-yard scoring connection. Reliable senior kicker Alec Webster sent the PAT attempt between the goal posts for a 7-0 lead.

A blocked punt led to Swansboro’s only touchdown in the game early in the second quarter. Swansboro’s Shane Hill blocked the kick around Topsail’s 30-yard line and it bounced backwards before being recovered at the Topsail nine-yard line by Swansboro’s Montell Johnson.

On the first play from scrimmage, Swansboro junior running back D’Andre Tompkins found the end zone on a nine-yard scoring run. Senior Jacob Lemasters tied the game with the point-after connection.

The local Pirates got some unexpected help from Swansboro Coach Tim Laspada en route to taking the lead moments later. Topsail was whistled for a chop-block penalty on third-and-seven in Swansboro territory.

Instead of declining the penalty, Laspada took it and moved the Pirates back an additional 10 yards. That decision backfired when Schoenleber hooked up with senior wide receiver Will Clark on a 31-yard pass play to keep the drive going.

Williams finished off that extended drive with an eight-yard scoring run and Webster connected again to provide Topsail with a 14-7 lead.

Swansboro was moving down the field early in the fourth quarter behind Thompkins but a fumble at Topsail’s 27-yard line that was recovered by Kimmel thwarted that scoring attempt. Later Swansboro was moving the ball again but this time Futrell stepped in front of an errant Swansboro pass, and the home team never really threatened again.

Now it’s off to Bethel next week for an opening-round playoff game against a somewhat familiar foe in North Pitt. The Panthers eliminated Topsail with a 10-7 win in the first round of last year’s football playoffs.

“That’s a good conference they are in and they are a lot like they were last year, physical and athletic,” said Davis as he watched film of the Panthers on Saturday.

Topsail            7-7-0-0=14

Swansoro       0-7-0-0=  7

First Quarter

Topsail – Mason Kimmel 40 pass from Austin Schoenleber (Alex Webster kick)

Second Quarter

Swansboro – DeAndre Thompkins 9 run (Jacob Lemasters kick)

Topsail – Devin Williams 8 run (Alec Webster kick)

Team Statistics        Topsail          Swansboro

First downs                     13                       9

Rushing                      38-105                27-131

Passing                    11-19-128            4-11-40

Fumbles/Lost                 1/0                     4/2

Penalties                       9-70                  8-70

Individual Statistics: Rushing – Topsail: Devin Williams 16-43, Josh Jessup 10-34, Austin Schoenleber 6-3. Swansboro: DeAndre Thompkins 15-85, Chris Phipps 11-49. Passing – Topsail: Austin Schoenleber 11-19-128. Swansboro: Chris Phipps 4-11-40. Receiving – Topsail: Mason Kimmel 2-46, Addison Futrell 2-10, Matt Gilgo 2-17. Swansboro: Markuise Hemby  1-10, Chandler Harrington 1-8.

27th Oct2012

Bulldogs run roughshod Over Devil Pups, 33-12

by Lee Wagner

HOLLY RIDGE – There was a lot on the line on Friday night at Dixon High School for the football teams from both the host Bulldogs and the visiting Lejeune Devil Pups.

The two teams came into play with identical 4-1 records in the Coastal Plains 1A Conference – both having lost to champion Southwest Onslow – so second place and bragging rights certainly were out there for the taking.

But more important was the No. 2 seed out of the conference in the upcoming NCHSAA 1A state football playoffs, which are scheduled to begin net Friday (11/2). Normally the second-place team would be rewarded with a home game but – as it turned out in the NCHSAA’s infinite wisdom (sic) – it didn’t happen that way.

C. D. Hansley (34 carries for 204 yards) and D’Angelo Williams (28 carries for 175 yards) combined for 379 yards on the ground to lead Dixon to a 33-12 win over Lejeune on Friday in a key Coastal Plains 1A conference football game on Senior Night in Holly Ridge.

Due to the breakdown by school size – separating the larger schools into the 1AA bracket and the smaller schools into a 1A bracket – Dixon (7-3, 4-1) will be on the road next Friday in the 1AA bracket East bracket, and their alleged reward is a trip to 9-1 Goldsboro. Lejeune (5-6, 3-2) gets the reward in the 1A bracket with a home game against Rosewood (3-7).

This is certainly not what the Bulldog faithful had hoped for, especially after seeing a Dixon football team finish with seven wins for the first time since the 1960’s. A home playoff game would have been the first in school history.

Dixon wasted little time in letting the Devil Pups know they were not going to spoil their Senior Night. C. D. Hansley opened the scoring early with a nine-yard scoring jaunt, and Williams, subbing for injured starter Malik Simmons, sandwiched scoring runs of eight and four yards around a touchdown by Lejeune in the second quarter to give the home team a 19-7 lead heading into the halftime break.

After a scoreless third period, Lejeune closed the deficit to 20-12 on a five-yard touchdown scamper but Dixon and Williams answered right back. Williams ran in from 11-yards out to make it 26-7, and a later five-yard run ended the scoring and provided the Bulldogs with the 21-point margin of victory.

Lejeune          0-  6-0-  6=12

Dixon              7-12-0-14=33

First Quarter

Dixon – C. D. Hansley 9 run (Rogers kick)

Second Quarter

Dixon – D’Angelo Williams 8 run (Kick failed)

Lejeune – Dudley 13 pass from Chad Collins (Pass failed)

Dixon – D’Angelo Williams 4 run (Run failed)

Fourth Quarter

Lejeune – Chad Collins 5 run (Pass failed)

Dixon – D’Angelo Williams 11 run (Run failed)

Dixon – D’Angelo Williams 5 run

Individual Statistics: Rushing – Dixon: C. D. Hansley 34-204, D’Angelo Williams 28-175. Lejeune: Jamaz Richardson 25-196, Stephen DiCenso 1-0, Chad Collins 5-20, Fisher 6-30. Passing – Dixon: C. D. Hansley 3-7-5. Lejeune: Chad Collins 6-12-59. Defense – Dixon: Seth Schoonover 10 tackles, Brian Dubrey 10 tackles, Jacob Stranz 3 tackles, 2 sacks.

27th Oct2012

Topsail Basketball Association online registration has begun

by Contributor

HAMPSTEAD – A new season of the Topsail Basketball Association (TBA) is just around the corner and online registration has begun.

This year there are two ways to register; online and onsite.

For those looking to register online for the 2012-13 season they can do so now by going to www.topsailbasketball.com.  Onsite registration will be held on Oct. 20 and 27 at the Hampstead Library from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. TBA is open ot boys and girls from 1st to 12th grade.

The cost of registration is $75 per player and registration deadline is Oct. 28. Those who register after the deadline will be put on a waiting list which will be used until the league is full.

All players interested in participating must attend a player evaluation. Evaluations dates and time are available at www.topsailbasketball.com.

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